Meat and poultry processing facilities face distinctive challenges in the control of infectious diseases, including coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) (1). COVID-19 outbreaks among meat and poultry processing facility workers can rapidly affect large numbers of persons. Assessment of COVID-19 cases among workers in 115 meat and poultry processing facilities through April 27, 2020, documented 4,913 cases and 20 deaths reported by 19 states (1). This report provides updated aggregate data from states regarding the number of meat and poultry processing facilities affected by COVID-19, the number and demographic characteristics of affected workers, and the number of COVID-19-associated deaths among workers, as well as descriptions of interventions and prevention efforts at these facilities. Aggregate data on confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths among workers identified and reported through May 31, 2020, were obtained from 239 affected facilities (those with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 case in one or more workers) in 23 states.* COVID-19 was confirmed in 16,233 workers, including 86 COVID-19-related deaths. Among 14 states reporting the total number of workers in affected meat and poultry processing facilities (112,616), COVID-19 was diagnosed in 9.1% of workers. Among 9,919 (61%) cases in 21 states with reported race/ethnicity, 87% occurred among racial and ethnic minority workers. Commonly reported interventions and prevention efforts at facilities included implementing worker temperature or symptom screening and COVID-19 education, mandating face coverings, adding hand hygiene stations, and adding physical barriers between workers. Targeted workplace interventions and prevention efforts that are appropriately tailored to the groups most affected by COVID-19 are critical to reducing both COVID-19-associated occupational risk and health disparities among vulnerable populations. Implementation of these interventions and prevention efforts† across meat and poultry processing facilities nationally could help protect workers in this critical infrastructure industry.
Two species from the families Acipenseridae and Polyodontidae, Russian sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii, Brandt and Ratzeberg, 1833; functional tetraploid) and American paddlefish (Polyodon spathula, Walbaum 1792, functional diploid) were hybridized. The hybridization was repeated using eggs from three sturgeon and sperm from four paddlefish individuals. Survival in all hybrid family groups ranged from 62% to 74% 30 days after hatching. This was the first successful hybridization between these two species and between members of the family Acipenseridae and Polyodontidae. Flow cytometry and chromosome analysis revealed two ploidy levels in hybrids. The chromosome numbers of the hybrids ranged between 156-184 and 300-310, in “functional” triploids and “functional” pentaploids, respectively. The hybrid origin and the ploidy levels were also confirmed by microsatellite analyses. In hybrids, the size and the number of dorsal and ventral scutes correlated with the ploidy levels as well as with the calculated ratio of the maternal and paternal chromosome sets. An extra haploid cell lineage was found in three hybrid individuals irrespective of the ploidy level, suggesting polyspermy. Although the growth performance showed high variance in hybrids (mean: 1.2 kg, SD: 0.55), many individuals reached a size of approximately 1 kg by the age of one year under intensive rearing conditions.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in severe psychological, social, and economic stress in people’s lives. It is not known whether the stress of the pandemic is associated with an increase in the incidence of stress cardiomyopathy.
The pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has affected more than 10 million people, including pregnant women. To date, no consistent evidence for the vertical transmission of SARS-CoV-2 exists. The novel coronavirus canonically utilizes the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor and the serine protease TMPRSS2 for cell entry. Herein, building upon our previous single-cell study (Pique-Regi, 2019), another study, and new single-cell/nuclei RNA-sequencing data, we investigated the expression of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 throughout pregnancy in the placenta as well as in third-trimester chorioamniotic membranes. We report that co-transcription of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 is negligible in the placenta, thus not a likely path of vertical transmission for SARS-CoV-2. By contrast, receptors for Zika virus and cytomegalovirus, which cause congenital infections, are highly expressed by placental cell types. These data show that the placenta minimally expresses the canonical cell-entry mediators for SARS-CoV-2.
Body odour is a characteristic trait of Homo sapiens, however its role in human behaviour and evolution is poorly understood. Remarkably, body odour is linked to the presence of a few species of commensal microbes. Herein we discover a bacterial enzyme, limited to odour-forming staphylococci that are able to cleave odourless precursors of thioalcohols, the most pungent components of body odour. We demonstrated using phylogenetics, biochemistry and structural biology that this cysteine-thiol lyase (C-T lyase) is a PLP-dependent enzyme that moved horizontally into a unique monophyletic group of odour-forming staphylococci about 60 million years ago, and has subsequently tailored its enzymatic function to human-derived thioalcohol precursors. Significantly, transfer of this enzyme alone to non-odour producing staphylococci confers odour production, demonstrating that this C-T lyase is both necessary and sufficient for thioalcohol formation. The structure of the C-T lyase compared to that of other related enzymes reveals how the adaptation to thioalcohol precursors has evolved through changes in the binding site to create a constrained hydrophobic pocket that is selective for branched aliphatic thioalcohol ligands. The ancestral acquisition of this enzyme, and the subsequent evolution of the specificity for thioalcohol precursors implies that body odour production in humans is an ancient process.
To evaluate the association between physical distancing interventions and incidence of coronavirus disease 2019 (covid-19) globally.
High-throughput and rapid serology assays to detect the antibody response specific to severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) in human blood samples are urgently required to improve our understanding of the effects of COVID-19 across the world. Short-term applications include rapid case identification and contact tracing to limit viral spread, while population screening to determine the extent of viral infection across communities is a longer-term need. Assays developed to address these needs should match the ASSURED criteria. We have identified agglutination tests based on the commonly employed blood typing methods as a viable option. These blood typing tests are employed in hospitals worldwide, are high-throughput, fast (10-30 min), and automated in most cases. Herein, we describe the application of agglutination assays to SARS-CoV-2 serology testing by combining column agglutination testing with peptide-antibody bioconjugates, which facilitate red cell cross-linking only in the presence of plasma containing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. This simple, rapid, and easily scalable approach has immediate application in SARS-CoV-2 serological testing and is a useful platform for assay development beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
A question central to the Covid-19 pandemic is why the Covid-19 mortality rate varies so greatly across countries. This study aims to investigate factors associated with cross-country variation in Covid-19 mortality. Covid-19 mortality rate was calculated as number of deaths per 100 Covid-19 cases. To identify factors associated with Covid-19 mortality rate, linear regressions were applied to a cross-sectional dataset comprising 169 countries. We retrieved data from the Worldometer website, the Worldwide Governance Indicators, World Development Indicators, and Logistics Performance Indicators databases. Covid-19 mortality rate was negatively associated with Covid-19 test number per 100 people (RR = 0.92, P = 0.001), government effectiveness score (RR = 0.96, P = 0.017), and number of hospital beds (RR = 0.85, P < 0.001). Covid-19 mortality rate was positively associated with proportion of population aged 65 or older (RR = 1.12, P < 0.001) and transport infrastructure quality score (RR = 1.08, P = 0.002). Furthermore, the negative association between Covid-19 mortality and test number was stronger among low-income countries and countries with lower government effectiveness scores, younger populations and fewer hospital beds. Predicted mortality rates were highly associated with observed mortality rates (r = 0.77; P < 0.001). Increasing Covid-19 testing, improving government effectiveness and increasing hospital beds may have the potential to attenuate Covid-19 mortality.
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has spread to nearly every country in the world since it first emerged in China in December 2019. Many countries have implemented social distancing as a measure to “flatten the curve” of the ongoing epidemics. Evaluation of the impact of government-imposed social distancing and of other measures to control further spread of COVID-19 is urgent, especially because of the large societal and economic impact of the former. The aim of this study was to compare the individual and combined effectiveness of self-imposed prevention measures and of short-term government-imposed social distancing in mitigating, delaying, or preventing a COVID-19 epidemic.
This research addresses public speculation that SARS-CoV-2 might be transmitted by mosquitoes. The World Health Organization has stated “To date there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes”. Here we provide the first experimental data to investigate the capacity of SARS-CoV-2 to infect and be transmitted by mosquitoes. Three widely distributed species of mosquito; Aedes aegypti, Ae. albopictus and Culex quinquefasciatus, representing the two most significant genera of arbovirus vectors that infect people, were tested. We demonstrate that even under extreme conditions, SARS-CoV-2 virus is unable to replicate in these mosquitoes and therefore cannot be transmitted to people even in the unlikely event that a mosquito fed upon a viremic host.